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Lunch at Margaritas Fine Mexican Food

The brightly colored eatery is hard to miss and worth a stop.

You could stand on a corner and look around until a restaurant sign draws you in. But we've got a better idea. Each week, Santee Patch picks a great restaurant, either in town or nearby, that is worth checking out. Here's this week's choice:

Overview: Recently opened near the Santee-Lakeside border, Margaritas offers a sit down, step up from your average hole-in-the-wall Mexican food joint.

Decor: The restaurant features a bar and what they call the "cantina," a more lively bar area after work hours. The color scheme is bright yellow, pink, orange and green, like I said, hard to miss from the road, and perhaps a little jarring in the restaurant. Let's just say I probably would have felt more at home if I'd ordered a margarita with lunch.

Entrees and Sides:

The extensive menu had all the standard Mexican food fare, with a focus on seafood.

I ordered the chimichanga lunch special which included a "mini-chimichanga," rice and beans for $5.99, served weekdays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., chili relleno, fish taco, enchilada, chili verde, chili colorado, and carnitas tacos are other options.

The guacamole was delicious, but nothing was notable about it.

The chimichanga was not what I expected, and let me start by saying the menu doesn't say "mini-chimichanga," I just added that to reflect what was on my plate. Not only was the chimichanga about half the size of the average chimichanga I've experienced, it wasn't deep fried, or fried at all. It was more of a mini-beef burrito. Don't get me wrong, the whole plate was delicious. But, the menu should reflect what it is. After reading some Yelp reviews, I've come to wonder if perhaps they gave me the wrong order, as a few reviews complain of, but I was hungry and just ate what was put in front of me.

The chips weren't anything to write home about, but not bad either, they seemed house made. The salsa was a standard red with some tomato and onion chunks in it, quite tasty.

The beans and rice were above average and the shredded beef was seasoned well.

Service:  The service was friendly and prompt. Prices were above your hole-in-the-wall joint, but not too high for a nice sit down place, especially with the lunch specials.

Signature Dish: Camarones Tequila- shrimp wrapped in bacon, marinated in spiced tequila

Bill Howell August 12, 2011 at 11:54 PM
Gave them another try today, and tried the $6 lunch (carnitas taco, rice, beans). Good, quick lunch at a reasonable price. The specials are 11am-3pm. Worth a try.
Doug Curlee August 13, 2011 at 12:12 AM
hey billy.. is the carnitas really, really good?.. it's one of my favorite dishes, but really good carnitas is hard to find.. doug
Bill Howell August 13, 2011 at 12:24 AM
No, Dougie....mediocre....nada to crow about....agree that they are hard to find...I have not tried Marietas, always stick to their carne asada.
J.B. August 13, 2011 at 02:27 PM
I've been there a couple of times and it's just ok. I would rather go to Marieta's. I like to get the mild salsa because my stomach can't handle the regular anymore and it was like watered down salsa. Yuck! Both times I went I had the carnitas. the first time it was awesome! The second time it was just ok. I might go back but like I said before I would rather go to Marieta's.

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